With a piece of news that is equal parts inevitable and shocking, the New York Mets and outfielder Jason Bay have agreed to “part ways” per an official @MLB tweet, making the once-good outfielder a free agent. The shocking part comes at the cost to the Mets, as Bay is owed SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLARS for 2013 as well as a $3 mil buyout for the 2014 season.
“Mutual agreement.” RT @joelsherman1: Bay is getting all $21M he is owed, the $16M salary the $3M buyout and the $2M left on a signing bonus
— Dustin Parkes (@dustinparkes) November 7, 2012
In case you were not aware, Jason Bay has been nothing short of terrible since signing with the Mets after the 2009 season. Injuries — most notably concussions — hampered Bay’s ability to stay on the field and produce at even a level beyond that of a replacement player. Bay played less than 300 games for the Mets, posting a single Win Above Replacement with a 90 OPS+.
The wording of the release is interesting. The nature of Bay’s contract forced the Mets to pay for a vesting option/buyout as well as the above-mentioned signing. Not a bad problem to have, aside from his career potentially ending with maximum indignity.
Is Jason Bay going to find work for 2013? The Canadian outfielder first must answer any and all questions about his health, that which limited him to just 70 games in 2012. Ongoing concussion issues were only part of the problem as Bay missed nearly a month with a broken rib and a week with a bad back.
A 34-year old outfielder with a history of injury and disappearing power? We can’t assume GMs are lined up around the block for his services despite Bay having five legitimately great offensive seasons on his resume. Perhaps a part-time role back in Boston, scene of his most recent triumph?
Any spot where some DH at bats might save his brittle bones serves as a reasonable landing spot, likely on a minor league invite with some hand shake promises of full time work in exchange for health and prosperity. (P.S. HE’S CANADIAN ARE THERE ANY BASEBALL TEAMS IN CANADA WITH A GAPING CREVICE IN LEFT FIELD???)
The Mets, to their credit, bravely and expensively admit a mistake and attempt to move on. They are paying through the nose but freed of the desire to give Bay playing time or, with his plate appearance-based vesting option in mind, burning a roster spot on a player they’re afraid to use, the Mets can finally move on.
It is in decisions like this that teams can truly flex their financial might. Not only were the Mets rich enough to outbid all others for Bay’s services back in 2009, they can take a $20 million dollar haircut when it clearly isn’t working out. A nice luxury to have, indeed.